Thursday January 17, 2019
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Critically Endangered Pacific Northwest Orcas Welcome New Born Calf

One whale drew international attention when she carried her dead calf on her head for 17 days last summer. 

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Orcas
This September 2015 photo from NOAA Fisheries shows an adult female orca and her calf, in Washington state's Puget Sound. Researchers reported Jan. 11, 2019, that there's a new calf among killer whales that live in the waters between Washington state and Canada. VOA

Researchers say there’s a new calf among the population of critically endangered killer whales that live in the waters between Washington state and Canada.

Ken Balcomb, founding director of the Center for Whale Research, told The Seattle Times that staff first saw the calf Friday at the eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

He said the youngster looks healthy, but survival rates for baby orcas are only about 50 percent.

Pilot whales
Orca

The whales have been starving amid a dearth of salmon. Vessel noise and pollution have complicated their plight. No calf born in the last three years has survived.

Also Read: Rescue Efforts For Wild Puerto Rican Parrot In Motion

One whale drew international attention when she carried her dead calf on her head for 17 days last summer.
Two other orcas are known to be sick, and researchers fear they could die within months. (VOA)

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After Being Stranded, 145 Pilot Whales Die In New Zealand

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand's coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year

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Pilot whales
Orca

About 145 pilot whales died in New Zealand after being stranded during the weekend on Stewart Island in the extreme south of the country, officials said on Monday.

A hiker alerted authorities on Saturday night about the situation of the whales, who were stranded in Mason Bay in two separate groups about two kilometers apart, a Department of Conservation of New Zealand release said.

Pilot whales
Almost 150 whales die in mass stranding. BBC

Half of the whales were dead when rescuers arrived and the condition of the rest, by the time they were found, was so bad it was decided to euthanise them, said Ren Leppens, operations manager at Rakiura.

“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low. The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanise,” said Leppens.

Pilot whales
A volunteer looks after a whale, part of a pod of stranded pilot whales.

Pilot whales, also called long-finned pilot whale, are a specimen with a bulging forehead and a robust body that can reach between six and seven meters in length, Xinhua news agency reported.

Also Read: The Ocean And Its Climate Crisis

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand’s coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year, most of them to save these animals individually.

The reasons why whales and dolphins can become stranded have not been clarified, although it is attributed to diseases, navigation errors, sudden changes in tides, being chased by predators or extreme weather conditions. (IANS)